by R.L.Davis Hays
Chapter 1 continues:
“Have I ever failed to pay you?” Keinigan protested. The knife held at his throat was making it difficult to talk with bravado.
The thieves of The Slider Guild were sincere in their threat of cutting him if he did not produce the money, but they were not merciless to those that kept their word, and Keinigan had always made sure they were on the top of his debt list. To not pay them after they had given him their aid was worthy of a knife in the back.
He made it to the safehouse without pursuit. Yet, the gate to sanctuary was a perilous one. The thieves did not care for people to burst in unannounced and fresh out of a jailbreak.
Novak, a burly human with one eye and a long, ugly scar down his neck, held Keinigan pinned beside the door with one arm. The other arm gripped the jagged knife, warm from being next to the small of his back, against Keinigan’s golden skin.
“But, you don’t have the silver on you. Do you, Keen?”
The query came from a thin, dark-skinned woman lounging calmly at a table in the far corner of the tavern. She could have been considered pretty if it were not for the hard, cruel expression that always sat on her face. It was clear from the respect that all others in the room gave her that she was their leader. She had not even moved since Keinigan arrived in a flush of excitement; nevertheless, he knew the only real threat came from her. She could order his life taken with the bat of one black eyelash.
“Do you, Keen?” she repeated, skeptical. Using Keinigan’s guild name was a show of authority and the ominous tone caused the blade of Novak’s knife to sink in a little closer. The guild was determined to extract a payment or, at least, secure the promise of one.
Keinigan made a depreciating gesture. “No, it’s true I have nothing on me, Gala.” He called her by her guild name as well to try evening the odds. “But, I’ll double the price if you cover me for tonight. I swear.”
There was silence from the corner. Then her face broke into a crooked smile. “You are such a filthy liar,” Gala cackled as she waved Novak away.
The knife withdrew and the tension in the room eased. Keinigan rubbed his throat and glared at the lumbering human. They were deemed equals now and he was allowed to be indignant. Moving over to Gala, the fae slid down into a chair opposite to make his offer.
“Look, you know I’m good for at least the price of two days’ hiding. I can get more if you want it.” He smoothed his tunic and settled into his most charming attitude. “Come now, Gala. What’s better for you? Twenty silver pents now or an extra ten added to that later? You wouldn’t even have to let the Silvermen know about it.”
Her brow creased in mock anger. “Wait. Ten extra? You said you’d double the twenty. Swindler.”
He spread his hands over the tabletop. “Like I could really get my hands on forty silver pents.”
Gala shook her head, her mouth turned up on end with a smirk. “I know you too well, Keinigan.”
“I know you; it’ll take you forever to scrape it up. Just give us the regular twenty and I’ll forget what I heard about cheating the Slider’s guildmaster.”
Keinigan lowered his head with a smile. He knew it was a gentle reprimand coming from her. However, a little bribe is never out of place.
“How about if I give you something that the guild won’t mind missing out on…”
Her eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Like what?”
His hand stole across the table to gently pick hers up and play with the fingers. He raised his slanted, green eyes up to her with a lustful promise simmering in them.
“Oh,” he purred. “I’m sure the Silvermen won’t mind a little reminiscing between two old friends.” He leaned in closer as he saw her opening to the suggestion. “Two good friends. We could go down to the hide-room and –”
His offer got cut short by a movement near the window. One of the thieves stood up and peeked out the glass.
“Torches approaching,” was all they heard.
The room cleared.
Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook. http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/